McAllister’s recent talk, I was interested to find four
references to the Band of Hope when recently searching through
the 1872 editions of the Chorley Standard. Three of the meetings
took place at White Coppice School.
The meetings on 4 March, 19 October and 14 December strongly
featured the local Anglican clergy, the Vicars of Heapey and
Whittle le Woods, and Alfred Ephraim Eccles
Alfred Ephraim Eccles
Eccles lived at
Albion Villa (now known as “Northwood”) in the village, owned
the local mill and was probably the most important lay supporter
of temperance in the Chorley area.
The first meeting had as its centrepiece an address on
temperance by the Chaplain of the Salford County Goal. He stated
that 90% of the prisoners owed their imprisonment to the
influence of strong drink. Other speakers were the Vicar of
Whittle, and Jabez Baron and James Southworth from Abbey Village
who spoke about the benefits of abstaining from drink and
tobacco. Reference was made to a Band of Hope having recently
been formed in Withnell and there were recitations and songs
from “the young people.” The school room was full.
The second meeting, in October, again found the school “well
filled”, and began with singing and prayer. There was no guest
speaker on this occasion, but the meeting seems to have been
called soon after the local Brewster Sessions when licences were
issued and reviewed for Beer Shops and Public Houses. The Vicar
of Heapey, who chaired the meeting, gave an account of his role
at the Sessions, with the inference that he had fought the
temperance cause. (The Chorley Brewster Sessions occurred
annually in September and were often reported at length in the
Chorley Standard.) Other speakers were the Rev. Gardiner of
Whittle who had been a total abstainer for 13 years, and Mr.
Eccles. Mr. Eccles believed that it was not possible to prevent
licence renewal of most existing licensed premises, and
therefore advocated petitioning parliament and only voting for
candidates who were in favour of “prohibiting the liquor
traffic” in parliamentary elections. The meeting then heard
recitations of temperance pieces and songs from a Miss King and
the Band of Hope Choir.
I have not found a report of the third meeting in White Coppice,
but it was advertised by a public announcement in the Chorley
Standard on 23 November. It gave three weeks notice of a Band of
Hope Tea Party to be held at White Coppice School under the
aegis of the Heapey Temperance Society. A further advertisement
on 7 December gave additional information. Tea was at 5pm and
those attending included the Vicars of Heapey and Whittle, Mr.
Eccles and Mr. William Ashton of Halliwell.
The fourth Band of Hope meeting in 1872 which I found reported
in the Chorley Standard occurred in November and was reported on
9 November. It was held at the Eaves Lane Sunday School. “A Band
of Hope” meeting had taken place the previous Monday with “a
good attendance.” Whether this was a first meeting on a regular
meeting is not clear. It was chaired by Mr. W. Solloway. Four
men gave addresses to the meeting; a recitation was given by
John Moss jun.; “temperance melodies were sung by Messrs. M.
Hart, Robert Hart and Peter Hart. “At the close 41 persons
signed the pledge”.
Drink and Temperance were clearly big issues in 1872 Chorley
from the evidence in the Chorley Standard of public temperance
meetings and regular reports of prosecutions for drunkenness.
Band of Hope meetings may well have been under-reported if they
largely involved young people. The meetings reported above may
have been reported because either they involved important
persons from the local community or related to the setting up of
a new group.
John E Harrison
Standard 9 March, 26 October, 9 and 23 November, 7 December
Heapey, Wheelton and District: A Pictorial Record of Bygone Days
by Kenneth Hodkinson (1987)